With three weeks to go before Israelis hold a repeat election on September 17, Netanyahu is fighting a bitter battle to stay in office.
Omar and Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, were expected to arrive in Israel at the weekend for a visit that would have taken them to the Palestinian territories. Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories.
Omar responded to the decision Thursday slamming it as "an insult to democratic values". Israel's foreign minister is responsible for granting visas to visitors.
Democratic candidates for president in the United States have openly criticised Netanyahu, who is seeking re-election in Israel on September 17 after polls earlier this year failed to yield a coalition.
The Associated Press reported the move was "a sharp escalation of Israel's campaign against the global boycott movement".
"In a discussion held two weeks ago all the officials were in favor of letting them in but, after Trump's pressure, they reversed the decision", the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The announcement came shortly after Trump said Israel would be showing "great weakness" by allowing them to enter the country. "They are a disgrace".
Tlaib tweeted Friday: "Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what (my grandmother) wants for me".
Netanyahu alleged the itinerary of the congresswomen showed they meant to strengthen the boycott movement against Israel.
Arthur Lenk, formerly Israel's ambassador to South Africa, said barring Omar and Tlaib "would be sinking us deeper into USA domestic political quagmire".
After the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted against the boycott against Israel movement in July, Ms Tlaib criticised the country as "racist". At a recent rally in North Carolina, supporters chanted "send her back" after Trump falsely accused her of supporting al Qaeda.
The official, Hanan Ashrawi, was to have hosted Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, on a West Bank tour. Israeli officials said they would only be able to visit if willing to pledge they would do so as "humanitarians" and not speak out against Israel.
She has apologised for such statements.
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Political commentators said a reversal of Israel's original intention to approve the legislators' entry likely stemmed from a desire to mirror Trump's hard line against them.
"This not a strategy that is primarily aimed at the Jewish community", Ben-Ami said.
Justifying the decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that, "Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress". ("I could not disagree more with the positions of Representatives Tlaib and Omar with respect to Israel", said Schneider.) But their sentiments on this latest news seemed to match their more progressive colleagues.
The US ambassador to Israel said in a statement that the US "supports and respects the decision of the Government of Israel to deny entry".
Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of Arab parties, also criticized the move, writing that "Israel has always banned Palestinians from their land and separated us from other Palestinians, but this time the Palestinian is a U.S. Congresswoman".
"The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel", Netanyahu said.
Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren called the move "shameful" and "unprecedented" against a member of the US Congress.
In February, Omar faced a firestorm of criticism when she made similar comments about supporters of the existence of the state of Israel in the United States. The two lawmakers refused to be escorted by Israeli security while visiting the site, as they believe Muslims have a right to pray there, organizers in Israel and America told CNN.
The decision also drew criticism from American pro-Israel and Jewish groups. Her grandmother and extended family live in the village.
Why have they been banned?
U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib addresses her constituents during a Town Hall style meeting in Inkster, Michigan, Aug. 15, 2019.
But when the Israeli government on Thursday blocked Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from visiting the West Bank, Gottheimer rushed to their defense.